While I take issue with the way Pete gets there (and choice of language does matter here because of the very uncomfortable "dandy" implication) I tend to agree with the sentiment behind his argument against Fed's fancy pre-kit.
Roger may enjoy all this elaborate role-playing in a harmless way; down deep he probably thinks it's really cool that he can go out there looking so Brideshead Revisited and still leave opponents bleeding from the eardrums. But I think these costumes really send an awful, reactionary message, and can't help but think that Roger's being naive. It may be cool to look like an utter weenie and then kick buttski left and right, rubbing the dirt of your greatness in everyone's face. But at the end of the day, too many people are going to see Roger's kit and think: Guy's a heckuva tennis player, but he looks like such a weenie. I guess that's still what tennis is all about.
In the big picture, Roger Federer deserves to have a better image than that, and tennis certainly could be better represented as a sport that transcends all the socio-economic associations and stereotypes Federer's recent costumes conjure up. Roger, you're being used. Man up, call and ask Tiger about it.
Sometimes Fed reminds me of Jean Girard from Talladega Nights. On one hand, there's a level of hilarity in the fact that this suit wearing, Rolex toting, espresso drinking, friend of Wintour is absolutely obliterating the field while barely breaking a sweat. On the other hand, it really doesn't help me in my personal quest to prove to all my Sportscenter watching friends that tennis really is more than just a country club sport, reserved for the wealthy and the privileged. I know, I know, I should probably just get over it and accept that fact that this is a rich man's sport. But that'll just make me hate myself for liking it, and I really don't think I can deal with anymore self-hatred. I've got that in spades.
As some of you have pointed out, it's entirely unfair that Fed gets painted as the rich, classy, dandy, while Rafa gets the "benefit" of somehow having street cred when he too came from (as I understand it) a wealthy family as well. This notion that these two are worldly opposites isn't fair to either player.
But marketing is marketing and when you're a player of a certain GOAT-like stature, you do have some say in how you're marketed. And if in fact you acknowledge that you're seen as a spokesman for the sport, maybe you should take that into consideration.
I'm not saying the guy should come out looking all chav or anything. But I do wish, especially at Wimbly where all eyes are on him, that he'd tone it down a bit with the grandpa clothes. I actually really liked the idea of that modern, clean, jacket. It looks like something from the cover of Details.
But the vest! MY GOD THE VEST!!!
A friend of mine wrote me an email this morning that said, ever so simply, "Seriously? You watch this stuff? How can it be a sport if you can wear a three piece suit to play?"
Yeah. I got nothin', dude.